Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

The wildfires in Colorado Springs were so emotional for me. I kept feeling disproportionately overwhelmed and grief-stricken by it. It's as if the last shred of that life, which I had been clinging to, went up in flames. In a way, it was cleansing for me, though. It seems that I more fully embraced life here after that. 

The fragility of the world economics.

The civil unrest in Syria, the ongoing war and genocide around the world. It all has an impact on me because I feel powerless to stop it and feel guilty about complaining about my first world problems when millions around the world do not have access to basic human rights.

With the election coming up, I've found myself getting drawn into politics. I never cared about it much before, but I've discovered I have some very strong opinions on many of the issues being discussed.

The bomb threats at Pitt and the Colorado movie theater shootings. These two events may not have "affected" the world - but they affected mine - and certainly the region they were in.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is still heavy on my mind even if it didn't happen this past year. It is a scary reality of this century.

The explosion of "Occupy" Groups. People are taking back their power.

The rash of gun violence in US workplaces and elsewhere makes me wish we would finally take gun control seriously in this country.

The election this year is really impacting me because I'm finally 18 and now that I have the opportunity to vote, I really feel like I have a voice and the fate of our future is partly in my hands.

We kept on sending troops to Afghanistan. Which meant that one of my best friends got shipped over there. He is about two months away from returning. But now, whenever I see that soldiers were hurt or killed in Afghanistan my mind immediately goes to him. I check his facebook page, or try to find him on gchat. So far, so good. Thu-thu-thu.

The Summer Olympics reinvigorated my passion for sports, and to find a job in sports. I watch sports or coverage of sports nearly every day, and I am motivated by these athletes and their commitment and sacrifice. This two-week event also reminded me of the importance of sports and its lessons in my life. If I am ever to find a lifelong parter, he will need to have a similar appreciation and understanding of sports, and its impact on my life.

Five children in my community died this year either through suicide or over dose (suicide?). I hug my children tighter. I cherish every moment with them. And I find time to engage them in meaningful talks. I try to be present for them. Even when I don't want to be.